D.R.A.M.’s contagiously positive attitude carries “Big Baby D.R.A.M.”
Jimmy Kemper | Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Take one look at D.R.A.M.’s album cover and you know this isn’t going to be your average hip-hop album. The 28-year-old Virginia-based rapper and his goofy, ear-to-ear smile take up the entire frame, save for the golden doodle he’s cuddling.
This man with a big smile, a bigger heart and an even bigger personality is no other than D.R.A.M. (short for “Does. Real. A–. Music.”), who first caught mainstream attention near the end of 2014 with “Cha Cha,” a catchy, Mario-sampling track that Drake went on to blatantly rip off in “Hotline Bling” before backing off and claiming that it’s okay for multiple artists to use the same beat. As disappointing as it must have been for an up-and-coming artist to have his music stolen and turned into one of the biggest hits of 2015, D.R.A.M. just shrugged it off, tweeting that he felt he “got jacked for my record … But I’m GOOD.”
That happy-go-lucky attitude and the big grin on the cover of “Big Baby D.R.A.M.” capture just about everything you need to know about D.R.A.M.
The Lil Yachty-assisted “Broccoli” is the centerpiece that holds this record together. The top-10 hit is contagiously optimistic and straight-up bumping. There are few artists out there who can pull off rhyming “sleazily” with “greasily,” but D.R.A.M. makes it work so well because he’s just so funny. Of course, the runaway success of both “Cha Cha” and even more so “Broccoli” has led many to question whether D.R.A.M. will be able to break out of the fun-loving, viral-smashing mold he’s quickly developed for himself, or if he’s doomed to be a one-hit wonder.
Thankfully, there’s more to this album than just “Broccoli.” It’s sandwiched right between the album’s two other best tracks, “Cash Machine” and “Cute.” Based on these few tracks, D.R.A.M. has unfortunately been quickly placed in a category with Lil Uzi Vert, Young Thug and Lil Yachty because of their specific vocal idiosyncrasies, general newness and weird overall style. However, D.R.A.M. stands apart from them and many other rising stars because his intensity is so hard to match and his music is so hard to categorize. In just those three songs mentioned above, D.R.A.M. combines elements of rap, funk, rock, soul and so much more.
This experimental attitude extends across the whole album, giving us great songs like “Misunderstood,” featuring Young Thug, Auto-Tune and ’80s guitars, and “WiFi,” a duet with Erykah Badu that flies effortlessly through a sparse, electronic soundscape solely on the power of these two artists’ massive personalities. Closer “Sweet VA Breeze” proudly rocks jazz influences and organ features in a rather modern way without feeling tacky.
This is an album that is very in the moment of 2016, featuring track titles such as the aforementioned “WiFi,” as well as others like “Change My #” and “Password.” That being said, D.R.A.M.’s overwhelmingly positive vibes and endlessly creative music ensure that he’s more than just a one-hit-wonder and will be cha cha-ing his way through the Billboard Top 10 for quite some time.
Favorite Tracks: “Broccoli,” “Cash Machine,” “Cute”
If you like: Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi Vert